Sakurai Atsushi watched as Issay and Uta bickered over what Issay was asserting as inconsequential and trivial in regards to the household staff. Resting his head in his hand, Sakurai sat slumped in his chair, one leg thrown over an arm, watching as the two men started to push and shove at each other, he was growing tired of the scene being played out.
“ENOUGH!” he roared. “Issay, go away. I don’t care where you go, but leave me now. Uta, you and I will have words.” Sitting up, he glared at Issay who started to protest, his eyes darkening dangerously, enough so that Issay hesitated to speak. “Go away.” Sakurai said. “Fine, but this is not over Acchan!” In a huff and with a twirl of his robes, the man left the room.
Uta approached Sakurai, “He’s such a pain in my ass! Why is he even still here? He’s not your blood spouse, I am.” Sitting on the floor next to Sakurai, Uta crossed his arms over his chest and sulked. He was tired of Issay’s intruding on his relationship with his lover, always backstabbing and throwing jealous accusations around, in an attempt to get Sakurai to leave him. But it ultimately backfired each and every time, as it did today.
Uta looked up at Sakurai, “He has no right to dictate what the staff does or doesn’t do, he is not master of the estate.” What Uta wanted to do is demand that Issay be dismissed and forced to leave the estate, but he held his tongue. “Issay has been with me for a long time, it is not that easy to have him leave me.” Sakurai reached down to stroke Uta’s silky black hair. “But you do not love him,” Uta pouted. “I love him as a master loves his creation, but no, I do not love him as I love you.”
Uta took advantage of Sakurai’s soft tone, moving to sit in the man’s lap, offering his neck without even thinking. “Not right now my love, later.” The older man whispered against Uta’s neck. “First we must deal with what is happening with the staff, tell me what the problem is.” The household staff was comprised of people from the local village, that arrived every morning but left well before dark. “The boy that is taking care of the livestock … I believe Issay has seduced the boy, he had marks on his neck when I saw him today.”
This got Sakurai’s attention quickly, “Is the boy still here?” Uta nodded, “Fetch him for me please.” Uta got up from Sakurai’s lap and left the room, “I know you’re listening, Issay.” Sakurai snapped. The beautiful man walked in from a side room, “Did you bite the boy?” Issay smirked, “a little drink was all, and a bit of a tumble in the hay barn, nothing serious Acchan.”
Before Sakurai could answer, Uta came into the room with the stable boy who looked a little dazed. “Boy, what is your name?” Sakurai asked softly, “Kenta, my Lord.” The boy started to shake, “Am I in trouble, my Lord?”
Sakurai got up from his chair and approached Kenta, “No my boy, you’re not in trouble.” Sakurai slowly raised his hand, and pushed back Kenta’s hair, looking at the boy’s neck; the marks were deep, they were not fresh holes, there had been more than one little drink taken. “Kenta, please go to the kitchen and ask Kai-san to make you a large basket, then I want you to go home today and rest.” Sakurai petted the young man’s hair. “Yes, my Lord.” Kenta bowed and left the room.
As soon as the door closed, Sakurai whipped around and rushed at Issay, grabbing the man by the throat, shoving him roughly against the wall, “What the fuck have you been doing to that boy? How many times have you taken him?” Issay eyes were wild, his feet kicking as Sakurai lifted him off the floor. “Only a few times! I swear!” Issay’s hands were grabbing at Sakurai’s wrist, trying to wiggle free of the Ancient’s grasp.
Sakurai snarled, “This isn’t the first time, Issay! How many will it take before you drain one? Before they die in your arms?” He took Issay by the throat and threw him across the room, the man crashing into a china hutch, which toppled over, trapping the man underneath. Uta stood behind Sakurai’s chair, shaking in fear, his lover’s temper was not to be tested, ever. Issay groaned as he threw the china hutch off him, the large piece of furniture crashing into the wall. “You say you’re done with me, Acchan? That’s a joke, you’ll never be done with me, you created me…you brought me into the blood, that tie will never be severed.”
Issay stood and advanced on Sakurai, a malicious grin on his face. He glanced over at Uta, who was still cowering behind Sakurai’s chair, “You…you little piece of shit, this is YOUR FAULT!” Sakurai stepped in front of Issay, preventing him from getting near Uta. “Leave…now.” Issay lifted his hand as to strike his maker, hesitating at the last second thinking it unwise to anger Sakurai any further. “Get your things and leave, Issay. Do not return, ever. This is the last I will speak to you.” Sakurai turned his back on the man, going over to sit in his chair, reaching for Uta and drawing him into his lap.
“You’ll regret this, Acchan. I will make sure you regret this every day for eternity.” Issay turned and walked out of the room. Uta had his head buried in Sakurai’s neck, “He means it… you know he’ll do something,” he murmured. “No worries my love, he has no power over me.” Sakurai held Uta close to his chest, “I won’t let him harm anyone.”
Dawn was breaking and it was time to retire for the day. Sakurai drew the heavy black out curtains across the windows, before changing into pajamas. Uta had already drawn the curtains around their bed, burrowing down into the deep comforter as he waited for Acchan. “Hurry Acchan, it’s getting too bright in here!” the younger man whined. Climbing into bed, Sakurai pulls the last curtain closed around the bed, the darkness a relief for them both. Pulling Uta into his arms, Sakurai kissed him deeply, “I love you, Uta.” The younger man murmured, “I love you too.”
Issay was on a spree, grabbing anyone that was warm with blood, dragging them off the street and into an alley, draining them as fast as he could. He was angry, and the human race was paying the price for Sakurai Atsushi’s dismissal of Issay, “Leave him? Never speak to him again? That’s a fucking joke! That asshole brought me into the blood, that tie will never be broken.” Issay had other darker ideas flying through his mind, visions of a new family to bring back to Sakurai.
Throwing his latest victim to the ground, a young woman in her 20s, Issay kicked her next to a dumpster, leaving her half naked and splayed out like a mannequin, pasty white and fake looking. “Piece of shit, not worth the effort,” Issay spat on the body.
Leaving the alley, making sure his clothes and appearance didn’t betray his recent activity, Issay started walking towards the center of town, back to the hotel he had checked into. Without acknowledging the greeting from the front desk, Issay took the elevator to his floor. Stepping out on the 8th floor, Issay took out his room key and inserted it into the slot. Turning the handle, he paused, the hairs on the back of his neck spiked, walking into the room, he stopped, “Who the fuck are you?”
Sitting in a chair next to the small table, a man with long blonde hair, dressed in a tailored three-piece suit, immaculate in his style. He smiled at Issay, “Sit down, Issay. I’d like for us to talk for awhile.”
“Fuck you, who are you and why are you in my hotel room?” Issay snapped. He could tell that the other man was a vampire, but one that he had never met. “If you must go this way, my name is Yoshiki, does that satisfy you enough to listen to what I have to say?” Issay recognized the man’s name from a short meeting centuries ago, but something told him the man was worth hearing out. “Fine, what do you want?”
The man gestured for Issay to take a seat across from him, “I’ve been told you’re having problems with Sakurai,” the man said, “I would like to offer some assistance, as it were.” Issay’s breath caught, “How do you know about Sakurai? I’ve never seen you before today.” Yoshiki chuckled, “Oh, I’ve known of Sakurai Atsushi for eons, even before he brought you into the blood, don't you remember me that night in France?” Issay thought he knew all of Sakurai’s associates, and Yoshiki was't one of them as the Ancients were not of a robust number.
Issay was suspicious of the man, “Who told you I was having problems with Sakurai?” Yoshiki chuckled, “The underdark is a wealth of information, and it travels quickly. Let’s just say a little black rat told me. Are you interested in hearing what I have to offer?” Issay didn’t like the vibe he was getting, something felt very wrong. “No, I think not. I have nothing more to say to you, so if you please… good evening.”
Yoshiki looked at Issay, he wasn’t surprised at the man’s reaction, quite the contrary, he had expected some resistance. Standing up, Yoshiki took a card out of his breast pocket, handing it to Issay, “If you ever change your mind, please don’t hesitate to contact me, I can guarantee you that it will be worth your while. Good evening.” Yoshiki bowed and walked towards the door. “Oh, before I leave… not only can I help you with Sakurai, but I can take care of that little problem with Uta as well. Think it over.” The man bowed lightly then walked out.
Issay locked the door, taking out his phone he started to dial Sakurai’s number…then snapped it closed. “Shit. Not like I can call him now.” Issay started to pace the room with his phone in his hand, stopping every few minutes and looking through his contacts. Who could he trust enough, that wasn’t in Sakurai’s back pocket? “Pfft, everyone defers to him, stupid reverence for Ancients.”
Looking at the time, he knew he had to sleep…the sun was creeping higher in the sky. Closing the curtains, Issay arranged the blankets on the bathroom floor. There were no blackout curtains in the hotel room and the only truly dark place would be the bathroom. He’d find better accommodations the next day, so this would have to suffice for now. “Look what you’ve done to me, Acchan. I’m sleeping on a bathroom floor.” Issay said sourly. “I hope you’re happy now, asshole.” With no more thoughts of Sakurai, Issay closed the door and turned off the light.
Yoshiki turned and looked up at the hotel, a smirk on his lips. “I give you four days max, you’ll call me and beg me for help.” Making his way to his car, his phone buzzed in his pocket. Looking at the number he chuckled.
“Hello there, I wasn’t expecting you to call me today. No, I just left. Surprisingly, he didn’t take the bait, but I suspect I will hear from him in the next few days. Yes, I think we should arrange a meeting, no… don’t call him in yet, I want to wait a little longer. Thank you.”
Closing his phone quietly, Yoshiki made his way to the parking lot. Standing next to a sleek Cadillac, a man in a dark blue suit with long wavy black hair, opened the door for Yoshiki, “Master, where would you like to go?” Closing the door and going to the driver’s side, the man got behind the wheel. Looking into the rear-view mirror, the driver waited for instructions. “Kaoru, take me to see him, I need to have a chat with the esteemed gentleman.” Kaoru nodded, “Yes, Master.”
Yoshiki sipped his tea and listened as Imai ranted incessantly about Sakurai Atsushi, hundreds of years worth of jealousy and hate that had not lessened. “Really…Imai? The information I just gave you does not at least please you?” Yoshiki chided. “Fuck no it doesn’t please me, if you want to please me make sure to have Uta in my possession within the week. If you can’t do that for me, you’re worthless.” Imai growled. “A week? Surely you understand it’s going to take more than a week to put any plan in action, Issay was just dismissed earlier this evening.”
Imai glared at Yoshiki, “Fine. I’ll wait…but you will deliver Uta to me, there are no excuses for failure. I don’t give a shit what you do to Issay, he’s your problem.” Yoshiki inclined his head, “Thank you, I will gladly accept that problem. You must be patient, Imai. We can not just waltz into Sakurai’s estate and take Uta by force, Sakurai is much too powerful to attempt that, you know that as well as I do. I do not wish to witness another immolation of someone who has pissed Sakurai off.”
Yoshiki and Imai both had witnessed what happens to another immortal that angers Sakurai Atsushi; the burning of a vampire is not a pretty sight.
Imai sighed, “You’re right, of course. What happened to Tangier was justified, but none the less disgusting.” Imai was tired of waiting for the opportunity to seek revenge on his former lover. The hundreds of years that had grown between them had been regretful, and as Imai saw it, unjustified or at the very least, unwarranted. “Why did he have to create Kai and then Issay? Was he so destroyed when I left, that he had to bring someone new into the blood? Tell me, Yoshiki…why?”
Yoshiki could only guess, “Imai, I wasn’t born yet, I can’t say what his mindset was at the time, I’ve only known him with Issay, and now with Uta. I’m going to assume that your disappearing for a few hundred years with no communication, his loneliness overshadowed everything. He’s a sentimental man, prone to depression, that’s why he created Uta. You know all of this Imai.”
With the chiming of the large grandfather clock in Imai’s study, Yoshiki realized the day was getting longer, “I need to go home and get some rest. If I hear anything from Issay, I will contact you. We will deal with this together Imai, I promise.” Getting up he bowed to the older man, turning to leave the room. “You will have Uta, one way or another.”
Yoshiki’s driver Kaoru, was waiting just outside the door, “Take me home please.” Kaoru bowed and led Yoshiki to the underground parking lot and into his car. Yoshiki felt his years at that moment, the infighting between the Ancients was starting to wear on him, leaving him to want to disappear as Imai had. Settling back in his seat, Yoshiki thought of his own plans to disappear, as soon as he could settle the problems with Issay and Imai, “Then I can rest.”
The Ancient’s were few, but were known to every vampire around the globe. The Ancient’s dominated their world, they were not to be crossed or challenged, they had survived for over a millennium, their words were truth and their wrath deadly. Sakurai Atsushi was the oldest of the Millennium, brought into the blood in the 10th century, by a vampire who did a hit and run on the man. In his travels in those early decades, Sakurai had met Imai, seeing the beautiful man stagger out of a seedy house that reeked of stale alcohol and sweat.
Sakurai gathered up Imai, taking him to the room he was renting and seduced the man. It wasn’t until the early morning hours before dawn that Sakurai brought Imai into the blood, it was his first selfish act as a vampire; creating an immortal companion. The two men traveled throughout Japan in that early century, wreaking havoc with indiscriminate killing of mostly criminals.
As time wore on, Imai became bored with his maker, Sakurai hunted less and less, preferring to take the little drink and leave his victims alive. He no longer wanted to rampage through a town, leaving a trail of death, rather he remained at his family’s estate, employing people from the village to work for him, only leaving at night to feed.
It was this return to an almost pastural life that irritated Imai to no end, often provoking Sakurai into a fight so he would have a reason to leave, sometimes for decades. Both Sakurai and Imai were brought into the blood in the 10th century, and as the Ancient’s age, their need for blood diminishes greatly, but in some the desire for feeding, the power and the sexual energy remains. Imai was of the latter, he loved nothing more than the power of hunting a victim, especially beautiful young boys and men, getting into their good graces and seducing them, then taking the little drink, or in some cases getting carried away and killing them. This was Imai to the bone, and Sakurai had no need of it, waving off his creation’s pleas to come out and feed.
“You have become a boring old man, Acchan. You act as if feeding is something that is a duty, a drudgery that has to be tolerated. What happened to you? Do you not love me any longer?” Imai would sit at Sakurai’s feet, his hand running up the older man’s thigh, teasingly, “My dear Imai, I simply do not need to feed at the moment, stop whining about it.” Sakurai would dismiss his lover, usually by getting up and leaving the room, Imai still sitting on the floor.
On a cold December evening, Imai came to Sakurai, begging him once again to join him in an outing. “Come, Acchan…let us dress warmly and go into town, perhaps have a few drinks at that lovely establishment with the beautiful boys that serve, we have not been out together in decades.”
Sakurai continued with his book, flatly ignoring Imai, “No.” Imai walked over and took the book out of Sakurai’s hand. “Acchan, you’ve done nothing but read and ignore me, let’s go out! I’m tired of staying at the estate all the time!”
With the hyper speed of an Ancient, Sakurai rose and tore the book from Imai’s hand, grabbing him by the throat and throwing him to the floor, “You will leave me be, Imai. I don’t want to go trapesing about the countryside looking for whores to feed on. If you want to go out, then go,” he snarled in Imai’s face. Getting up slowly, Imai turned to leave the room, stopping to look at Sakurai, “I’m going to make you regret this decision, Acchan.”
Watching Imai’s back as the man walked out of the room, Sakurai felt nothing other than annoyance, picking up his book he returned to his chair. Drawing in a deep breath and leaning his head back he closed his eyes. The memories of the day he brought Imai into the blood, filled his vision. He had been so lonely, his Maker had left soon after his body had died, giving him only the basics of vampire knowledge. He had tried and failed many times in those first years, some of it coming naturally, other parts still foreign yet.
The love he had for Imai was fleeting, finding himself bored with the young man after only fifty or so years, the man was vain and impulsive, with little control. Imai killed more often than needed, Sakurai abhorred that about the man. With a great sigh Sakurai rose from his chair, feeling wearier than he really should. Moving to the back of his house, to the internal room that allowed no light, Sakurai readied himself for bed. He knew Imai would be back the next evening, after gorging himself on how ever many hapless victims crossed his path. The man would come crawling, seducing Sakurai with tales of his night, then plead to be made love to. It was the same routine they had shared for over one hundred years, with no change in sight.
Our young and vain Imai